Tag Archives: FDR

WHY OBAMA FAILED TO CONNECT

I recently was reviewing the original New Deal program of Franklin Roosevelt which began in March, 1933. The resemblance to January, 2009 is amazing, but the reaction of FDR as contrasted with that of Barack Obama is dramatically different. Both confronted a severe banking problem and both dealt immediately with this issue. However, Franklin Roosevelt said from day one that second problem that must be immediately addressed was –JOBS. Within six months plans had been set in motion for nearly 2,000,000 men to be at work. These work efforts resulted in protecting our national forests, building schools, hospitals, bridges, employing artists to paint beautiful murals in schools, writers to write, roads to be built, and houses constructed. A year has gone by and President Obama promises–eventually– the economy will get back on its feet and there will be jobs. Harry Hopkins, a key adviser to FDR, one said: “People do not eat in the long run, they eat today.”

While the Secretary of Education, Arne Duncan, is using billions of dollars to improve test scores, at least two hundred thousand teachers will lose their jobs. While the Duncan agenda focuses on testing and scores, our schools are dumbing down the curriculum. In the 1930s, there were programs to ensure young people could remain in college, today, we make certain they will not. What is wrong with the Obama approach?

There is a disconnect between Obama and the American people. His favorite expression is that something is “very difficult” to explain. A leader knows how to express complexity in clear terms. A story to illustrate the problem. About 3,000 veterans of WWI marched on Washington in the spring of 1933. Mrs. Roosevelt left the White House by herself, made certain the marchers had a place to sleep, talked with them, even sang songs with them, and discovered some were so broke they wanted to get into the new CCC program which was designed for young people. She talked to some people, got a waiver, and 2500 were allowed to enter. She then arranged free rail transportation for the remainder. In other words, PEOPLE were always the focus, not the wealthy and their needs.

As FDR once told a banker who complained about his programs: “Buy some old clothes, get a second hand car, and travel around American talking to people, then come back and talk with me.” Good advice to President Obama.

Obama Wherefore Art Thou?

As Winston Churchill stated in referring to the old Soviet Union, Barack Obama is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. He is a man of great eloquence who can stir hearts, he is a man who, occasionally suggests a vision for society such as in the area of race relations. However, he is also a man with scant capability to enter into the minds of ordinary citizens and explain complex ideas in a manner that is readily grasped. He surrounds himself with man linked closely to Wall Street and financiers while attempting to convey to Americans that Barack Obama is the enemy of greedy Wall Street types. His financial advisors publicly announce at a time that 10% of Americans are without jobs that the recession is over!

Who is Barack Obama? It took until December, 2009 for the president to hold a “jobs conference.” I hate to tell President Obama but Franklin Roosevelt–without the need for a “jobs conference,” –had over four million working within a year after taking office. I realize critics will argue this time around it is different. It sure is. In 1933, there was NO economic foundation for people, no social security, no Medicare, just a lot of frightened people who obtained hope because their president was doing things to get jobs for millions.

Until Barack Obama clears out his Wall Street types from the Cabinet and gets individuals who have creative ideas for new jobs, his party is doomed in November, 2010.

Is Obama, Bill Clinton, Redeux?

Why Obama Is Failing!

Franklin D. Roosevelt attended Harvard and graduated as a C student. Barack Obama attended Harvard and graduated as an A student. FDR was born to wealth. Barack Obama came from a poor family. FDR understood the importance for a leader of connecting with the needs and fears of Americans. Barack Obama understands the importance of connecting with the needs and fears of bankers and Wall Street types. FDR’s chief aide, Harry Hopkins, was a former social worker, Barack Obama’s chief aide is a man obsessed with always being right. Franklin Roosevelt connected to the American people by speaking clearly in terms anyone could grasp, Barack Obama all too frequently believes he is delivering a paper to be graded by a Harvard professor.

Where has Barack Obama gone wrong? He was correct initially in dealing with the collapsing banking and insurance institutions. FDR initially dealt with banks to ensure their stability. But, within four months after assuming office, FDR had over two million unemployed people working. Within a year after assuming office, Barack Obama has added three or more million people to the unemployed status. Barack Obama failed to address the ISSUE OF JOBS!! An individual without a job CANNOT PAY FOR MEDICAL INSURANCE EVEN WITH GOVERNMENT ASSISTANCE. Barack Obama should initially have addressed the issue of jobs. Secondly, he should have confronted the importance of making wealthy people pay higher taxes.

Let me suggest what Obama should have done:

1. Initiate a modern version of the WPA that would get people working.
2. Make giving money to school districts based on their hiring teachers who were no in their employ on December 31, 2008. That would have led to creation of new teacher jobs.
3. Urge legislation that would (a) make illegal denying health insurance coverage based on previous conditions; (b) passed legislation that covered all children under the age of 22; (c) compelled medical facilities to become linked in a national technology program to ensure records could be electronically transfered. These legislative pieces would have passed without any serious problem
4. Pass legislation that compelled any new industries related to global warming to have at least fifty percent of production in America. Push for development of American made solar panels, turbines, etc ..
5. Develop a ten year program that results in every major American city having in place an urban transportation system that would enable them to ban cars in the city, Monday-Friday.
6. Begin a twenty year program to have in place by 2030 high speed trains in every part of America.

It is time for President Obama to recognize his party has an 18 seat majority in the US Senate. Talk and act tough regardless of the consequences.

Many Americans today regard Barack Obama as too close to bankers. During the 1930s, most Americans regarded wealthy born FDR as the enemy of bankers and rich people.!

What Comes After Reagan Capitalism?

America is drawing to a close with its love affair for Reagan style capitalism and its contemporary manifestation in the personna of Ron Paul. The disaster which has impacted this nation is a direct result of policies predicated on the assumption capitalists should be allowed complete freedom to accumulate wealth in any manner they so desired. Ron Paul advocates simply rewrote American history to present a myth that historically this nation did not want “big government” to interfere with the economy. This dream interpretation of the country’s history has no basis in fact. From day one of the new nation, Alexander Hamilton created the Bank of the United States to organize the monetary system and instituted tariffs to protect businessmen. The Federal government took leadership in constructing major roads and canals. Railroads emerged due to large Federal financial aid, but to Reagan, America’s development was all due to “rugged individualism.,”

The fantasy continues when describing modern examples such as the aircraft industry which was heavily subsidized by Federal money and the Internet which was a direct result of Federal aid. So, what is in the future for capitalism?

1. We will witness a national health insurance system to finally end the disastrous free enterprise model which has left 50 million without health care. This will enable our automobile manufacturers to finally compete on the global market instead of spending $1,500 on health benefits for each car produced.
2. We will witness heavy Federal investment in new industries as was done with the computer industry.
3. We will witness a massive Federal rebuilding of the infrastructure which can only be accomplished with Federal money. Perhaps, the Ron Paul supporters can explain how this could be accomplished by “rugged individualism.”
4. We will witness strong controls over the financial industry to end the manipulation by corporations which has proved disastrous to the economy.
5. We will witness partial Federal control of banks to help straighten out the mess and then they will become joint government and privately owned.

President Franklin Roosevelt used to tell the story of the wealthy man who went for a walk on a windy day and his hat fell off. A boy retrieved his hat which had fallen into a puddle and the man berated the boy for getting his hat wet. FDR told the story to illustrate how his New Deal program was trying to save capitalists from their own greed, but all they could do was gripe and moan and complain. The Federal government is the only mechanism that can save capitalism from its own follies.

Obama-Going Left, Right Or In The Center?

Many who voted for Barack Obama are concerned over his appointments of former Clinton administration people and the retention of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. Reality is there have only been two Democratic Presidents during the past thirty years–Carter and Clinton-so anyone with experience in government most probably served under Clinton. Obama has carefully read about the first year of Franklin Roosevelt’s administration and is copying some of its characteristics. FDR focused initially on calming people and restoring confidence of the business community. Obama had to select people like Paul Volker and the new secretary of the Treasury in order to send a signal to Wall Street they could calm down and stop worrying.

Franklin Roosevelt was rather conservative during his initial months in office, and one should expect Obama to move along a similar path. We can expect (a) restoring public confidence that everything will be OK, (b) a $1 Trillion public works, rebuilding infrastructure and financing new environment industries to create millions of jobs; (3) a health care plan that incorporates all children since that would be easy to get through Congress, (d0 the end of the Bush tax cuts and a small tax cut for the middle class, (e) more federal aid to deal with student loans. These steps would impact millions and restore a sense that things are moving along. That is the most important first step in restoring economic health.

The appointment of Gates and Hillary Clinton means these individuals will now be implementing Obama’s ideas, not the other way around. Troops will begin leaving Iraq by summer and the withdrawal will be handled by the Republican Gates. This is an excellent political move on the part of Obama. He is anticipating what critics will say and by having a Republican Defense secretary implement the evacuation it prevents Republicans from creating turmoil by complaining. The key to Obama during his first year is to initiate programs that will not create turmoil and conflict.

We can expect that Congress will be more aggressive and liberal than Obama. Actually, this is what happened under FDR. He responded to pressure by moving to the left since he could argue unless he did so, there would be conflict in society. Obama will display his more open approach to government and he will end Bush executive orders which damage the environment and have created the debacle known as Guantanamo.

We can expect by year two of the Obama administration he will be pushing for a more extensive national health insurance plan and institute such plans as a National Service Corps for young people.

In a sense, Obama simultaneously will be going to the right, to the left and remaining in the center. That is the mark of a good political leader.